IRCTC invites EoI for selection of partners for jointly participating for Private Train Operations

IRCTC has invited Expression of Interest (EoI) applications from reputed and established firms (“Applicants”) to form a consortium for jointly participating in the Tender(s); 

  • Tender Reference Number: 2021/Tourism/PT/SPV
  • Name of work: Request for Expression of Interest (EoI) for Selection of Partners to form an SPV and Bid for IR’s Tender(S) for Private Train Operations.
  • Document Download / Sale Start Date: 05-Mar-2021
  • Document Download / Sale End Date: 11-Mar-2021
  • Bid Submission Start Date: 05-Mar-2021
  • Bid Submission End Date: 11-Mar-2021
  • Bid Opening Date: 11-Mar-2021

The Ministry of Railways, Government of India (“MoR”) had floated request for qualification for selection of entities permitted to participate in the bid for operations of private passenger trains along – 100 routes, segregated into 12 clusters. MoR declared the shortlisted applicants eligible for participating in the bid for the various clusters in its notice No. 2019/Chg/22/04 dated November19th, 2020. 

  • As declared by MoR in its notice, IRCTC has been shortlisted for 10 clusters of which IRCTC intends to participate in the bid for all or some of the following (“Tenders”)1:
    • Cluster 1 – Mumbai 1
    • Cluster 2 – Mumbai 2
    • Cluster 3 – Delhi 1
    • Cluster 4 – Delhi 2
  • Please note that any Applicant that qualifies via this EOI process may replace itself entirely or partially with an Associate at a later stage-2 (in this partner selection process) but would not be permitted to do so with any independent 3rd party. 

About IRCTC:

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd. (“IRCTC”) is a Mini Ratna (Category-I) Central Public Sector Enterprise under the Ministry of Railways, Government of India. IRCTC was incorporated on 27th September, 1999 as an extended arm of the Indian Railways to upgrade, professionalize and manage the catering and hospitality services at stations, on trains and other locations, and to promote domestic and international tourism through development of budget hotels, special tour packages, information & commercial publicity and global reservation systems. 

The major activities of IRCTC include:

  • Catering & Hospitality
  • Internet Ticketing
  • Travel &Tourism
  • Packaged Drinking Water (Rail Neer)

Major highlights include:

Train Operations:

  • Currently, IRCTC is the only player in the Indian market with private train operations experience. It was nominated by the Ministry of Railways to operate the country’s first non-Indian Railways run passenger train in 2019. This move acted as a pilot project for privatization of train operations for MoR. Presently, IRCTC operates the following trains:
    • Tejas Express (Delhi-Lucknow)
    • Tejas Express (Mumbai-Ahmedabad) 
    • Kashi Mahakal Express (Indore-Varanasi)
  • IRCTC also runs Maharajas’ Express and Buddhist Express, which are top end luxury trains owned by IRCTC. 

Internet Ticketing:

  • With its round-the-clock ticket booking services, IRCTC has pioneered internet-based rail ticket booking through its website as well as mobile phones. This has provided great convenience for Indian passengers.
  • Started in August 2002, the e-ticketing platform has seen tremendous growth and,as per estimates, accounts for ~70% of online rail ticket reservations in India. 

Hospitality and Catering

  • IRCTC has significant presence in the hospitality and catering business spread over passenger trains, railway stations & their premises and other ancillary business activities. 
  • Mobile catering: IRCTC handles mobile catering services for premium trains like Vande Bharat, Rajdhani, Duronto Express besides Mail/Express Trains etc. 
  • Train-side Vending: The cooked food is provided to vendors of express/ mail trains which do not have attached pantry cars through.
  • IRCTC operated Mega/Mini Base Kitchens which are engaged in production of multi-cuisine food items. Premium catering-In the premium segment, IRCTC has commissioned Food Plazas / Fast Food units for sale of wholesome food and regional cuisines for travelling passengers.
  • Lounges: Akin to airports, IRCTC operates lounges in select railway stations that provide services such as comfortable seats, buffet meals, shower facilities and Wi-fi at nominal charges. 
  • Hotels: The core hospitality business of IRCTC includes hotels that IRCTC develops, operates and maintains through Public-Private Partnership, by sub-licensing it to a third party. 

Packaged drinking Water

  • “Rail Neer”, a packaged water brand for rail passengers, is owned by IRCTC. It has commissioned automatic production plants across the country. 

Travel & Tourism

  • IRCTC offers a wide range of travel & tourism products and services, including Tourist Circuits and Tourist Packages, to meet the requirements of different segments of tourists. 
  • These include Bharat Darshan tours, Bharat Tirth tours, Educational Tours etc.
  • It also operates all-inclusive Rail Tour Packages across the country, which include confirmed rail travel, road transfers, accommodation, meals and sight-seeing at reasonable rates. 
  • IRCTC’s tourism portal,, provides a one-stop solution for all travel needs. It offers online booking of trains, flights, cruises, tours & packages along with lounges and hotels.

Source: IRCTC-Tender | Image Credit (representational): MOR

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